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the countdown begins. japanese lawmakers get ready for a primary election after the prime minister dissolves the country's lower house. welcome to nhk an have a date t mark on the calendar. prime minister yoshihiko noda dissolved the lower house of the diet and set a general election for sunday, december 16th. his democratic party has been in power since 2009. he's framing the vote as a choice between the politics of the past and the future. >> the speaker of the lower house formally announced the dissolution of the chamber. the campaign officially starts december 4th. voters go to the polls 12 days later. prime minister noda says he wants to restore public trust in
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politics. >> translator: i dissolved the lower house of the diet because i wanted to keep my promise. i'm seeking a new mandate following the passage of the bills on social security and tax reforms upon which i base my political life. the major issue in the upcoming general election is how to steer this country in 2013 and beyond. can we move forward or do we turn back the clock and return to the old politics before the change of government? do we go forward or do we step back? that's the issue the public will
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vote on. >> the democratic party carved out an historic victory three years ago ending more than 50 years of nearly unbroken rule by the liberal democratic party. but prime minister noda and his colleagues will have to fight to hold on to power. recent polls suggest the main opposition ldp could gain the most seats, but no party is expected to win a majority. that would mean leaders have to negotiate to form a coalition government. prime minister noda will be going head to head with the leader of the main opposition liberal democrats shinzo abe who once held noda's job. he and his party are eager to get back into power. >> translator: we'll regain economic strength, a strong economy will serve as the basis of a reliable social security system. we'll also reestablish diplomatic relations.
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we'll make relations with the united states more reliable. the japan/u.s. alliance has been weakened under the democratic party government. >> abe says the liberal democratic party is well prepared for the election. he says it has reviewed its principles and streamlined its policies. yoshihiko noda is the third prime minister to lead japan since the democratic party took power. he's been in the job for a little more than a year. here's a look at some of the challenges he faced. >> reporter: yoshihiko noda replaced the prime minister who lost support over his handling of the fukushima power plant accident. overseas media focused on the fact that noda was japan's sixth prime minister in five years and questioned whether he could form a stable government. >> translator: i'm determined to do everything possible to move
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politics forward using a down-to-earth approach. >> reporter: noda identified three top priorities for his administration -- reconstruction from the march, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, containment of the fukushima nuclear accident, and fiscal restructuring and economic growth. the new prime minister called on all main parties to tackle the issues together. noda's diplomacy focused on the japan/u.s. alliance. former prime minister hatoyama saw relations fray over the relocation of a u.s. base in okina okinawa. noda agreed with the u.s. to strengthen cooperation on bilateral security in the face of china's growing presence in the region. noda also made the controversial decision to restart nuclear reactors for the first time since fukushima. >> translator: i decided to
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restart nuclear reactors to protect people's way of life. >> reporter: dpj members who had supported noda criticized him. some even left the party. noda's biggest challenge was reforming japan's tax and social security systems. he publicly laid his political career on the line for this goal. influential party leaders strongly opposed noda's plans to increase the consumption tax. noda promised the main opposition, liberal democratic and komeito parties that he would dissolve the lower house when the bills passed. this enabled him to push them through in august. but noda never stated when he'd call an election. >> i will judge when to dissolve the lower house after the proper measures are in place. >> reporter: tensions increased when the prime minister set
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further conditions for the general election. he called for the passage of legislation on financing government deficits and changing the electoral system. opposition politicians threatened to block the bills but eventually agreed to support the deficit covering bonds to finance this year's budget. noda stood his ground. he demanded on wednesday that the ldp also promise to cooperate to correct a disparity in the value of rural versus urban votes and to decrease the number of lower house seats. >> translator: if you agree to this condition i am ready to dissolve the lower house on november 16th. please give your words to the people. >> reporter: ldp leaders agreed effectively paving the way for a snap election. >> we're joined now by our senior political commentator. what issues will voters be looking for in considering this
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time? >> some will take a look at this election as a referendum on noda's record, i think. three years ago the democrats rode to power on the public desire for change. they ended more than half a century of almost unbroken rule by the liberal democratic party or the ldp. they promised to cut government spending on such things as public works projects. they also said that they would reform the system and vowed not to raise the consumption tax until 2013, but they have essentially broken all of these promises. many people are frustrated with the decision to restart some nuclear reactors after what happened at the fukushima daiichi. in the long run, the dpj says japan should wean itself off nuclear power. on the other hand the opposition
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says that idea is not practical and not responsible. >> you mentioned all the broken promises. with that said, how are voters looking at the various political parties including of course the ruling dpj and main opposition parties right now? >> many people remember the main opposition and the former ruling ldp for the way it wasted taxpayers' money. they think that the party was controlled by bureaucrats and business interests. but voters have lost confidence in the current ruling democrats. after what some people would call an experiment with the dpj, the public now knows what to expect from that party. the ldp rating is currently about twice that of the ruling democrats. voters who are tired of the established parties are considering a new political force, the so-called third pole.
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toru hashimoto and the former governor of tokyo shintaro ishihara have both established new parties in an attempt to alter the dynamics of the nation's politics. >> what do you see on japan's political horizon after the election? >> well, polls suggest the main opposition ldp stands a good chance of taking the most seats, but no party is expected to win a majority in the lower house. if that's the case, those parties that succeed in forming a majority coalition will take power and form a new government. if the ruling dpj and the main opposition together win a majority of seats they could form a ground coalition government. that is exactly what prime minister noda wants. the three parties have already worked together on fiscal and electoral reform bills. they have also agreed to work on social security reform in the
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future. but the ldp may try to form a coalition with the third pole. all these things will depend on how the seat allocation breaks down among the parties in the election. >> thanks as always. and so japan's political parties will start revving up their campaign machines. election day is sunday, december 16th. the official campaign starts on the 4th. the fate of some major economic and energy policies planned under the noda administration is now up in the air following the dissolution of the lower house. the diet won't be able to consider these policies until after a new administration is sworn in following the general election. noda's government decided last month to spend nearly $5 billion trying to get the struggling economy going again. on friday, the prime minister instructed his cabinet to draw a
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new stimulus package by the end of this month. noda said he would want his ministers to consider financing this new package partly through reserve funds totaling some $11 billion left in the budget for this fiscal year. his administration was planning to get the rest of the necessary money from a supplementary budget it was hoping to put together. now it's anyone's guess what will happen to these plans under an incoming administration. economic policy is not the only thing that is facing an uncertain future. so are plans for energy. in september the government mapped out new energy measures. they included a termination of nuclear power generation by the 2030s. the government was also planning to come up by year end with a framework for introducing renewable and other forms of alternative energy. final decisions on these matters are made at meetings of the national policy minister, the economy trade and industry minister, and other cabinet officials, but it's now unclear whether such meetings will be
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held by the end of the year. in addition, debate on the country's comprehensive basic energy plan has been shelved. now to the markets, asian equity markets are mixed. tokyo shares continue to benefit from a weaker yen but other asian stocks were hurt by concerns about economic problems in the u.s. and europe. in tokyo the nikkei average ended up 2.2%. it finished above the key 9,000 level due to the yen's decline. chinese markets lacked direction. investors were unsure how china's new leadership will shape the country's economic policies. the shanghai composite ended down 0.77% at 2014. hong kong's hang seng index rose 0.25%. turning to europe, the markets are moving slightly lower. london's shares down by almost 0.7%.
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frankfurt the dax declining by 0.6%. in paris the cac 40 declining by 0.4%. moving on to currencies the dollar is little changed against the yen after japan's lower house was dissolved in the afternoon. the euro is fluctuating in a narrow range currently quoted at 103.32-36. the new leaders of china were announced on thursday. on where the chinese economy will go from here we spoke to steven wong, an associate professor at the university of hong kong. >> i don't think there is a dramatic difference between the two in terms of economic policy. the goal is to try to achieve a reasonable economic growth as well as to balance the need of structural reform. currently the growth is moderate so i would expect the government
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would continue the economic reform on a very cautious manner. >> reporter: at the most recent communist party conference economic goals were set. they were a doubling in the country's gdp and average income by 2020. steven wong says it is likely to be achieved with the consecutive growth of 7% per year but the quality is important. >> balanced growth of 7% would have been very different consequences so we have a very balanced growth of 7% it will be more healthy. unbalanced growth of 7% would create potential social and political problems. >> reporter: xi and other new leaders need to tackle the problems left unsolved by their predecessors. they include a shift in economic emphasis from exports to domestic consumption. >> i think the most difficult challenge for xi is to deal with
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the powerful sector which has the status quo while trying to push through reforms. also reform is very difficult particularly in the middle of a very unstable environment such as the u.s. fiscal cliff and the european debt crisis. china's government needs a very stable export sector as it would take some time before the domestic consumption can be built up to a fully -- a full capacity that can substitute the export sector as one of the main engines of the economic growth. >> reporter: meanwhile, china has been boosting economic ties with countries in east and southeast asia and the policy seems to be unchanged. >> i think both east asia and southeast asia are important economic partners with china. given the economic problems in the u.s. and europe, china would
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be interested to promote more free trade within this economic bloc because china can out source at lower value for example in vietnam, cambodia, etcetera, so china can move up the chain by adding values to these products and then sell these products to richer neighbors such as japan and south korea. >> many chinese people are staying away from japan because of a bilateral territorial dispute. the number of chinese visitors plunged in october. the japan national tourism organization estimates that chinese visitors, both tourists and business people, totaled about 71,000 last month. that's down 33% from the same month two years ago before the march disaster last year. japan tourism agency commissioner said the situation remains tough. >> translator: unfortunately, there is no sign at the moment
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that the situation will get better and that chinese visitors will increase. >> the government agency set a target of getting 9 million foreign tourists to japan this year, but as of last month the number totaled only a little more than 7 million. he indicated it will be difficult to achieve this year's goal. here's more of the latest market figures.
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the japanese government will be helping myanmar to improve its transportation infrastructure. it wants to support japanese firms that are planning to break into myanmar's rapidly growing market. japanese transport minister and his myanmar counterpart will be signing a memorandum next monday. japan is expected to provide myanmar with technical support to help improve its airports and seaports and the two countries plan to hold regular vice ministerial meetings to discuss technical assistance. japan is also expected to send civil engineers to myanmar to help with infrastructure projects. the british public broadcaster bbc has agreed to pay a settlement to a former senior politician who it incorrectly implicated in a child abuse scandal. the scandal is one of several that have recently put an unwelcomed spotlight on the british media. earlier this month the bbc documenting program news night broadcast a report on child
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abuse in children's homes in wales in the 1970s and 1980s. one of the victims claimed in the program that the assailant had been a powerful politician at the time of the incident. the name of the alleged assailant was not broadcast in the program but lord allister mcalpine was later wrongly identified on the internet. the bbc has agreed to pay mcalpine about $300,000. the corporation's director general also resigned to take responsibility. in a statement the bbc said the settlement is comprehensive and reflects the gravity of the allegations that were wrongly made. britain's media watch dog ofcom has launched an investigation into the false report and says the bbc program raises issues about preventing unfair treatment to an individual in unwarranted infringements of privacy. ofcom has also opened a probe into a show aired by itv last week.
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it disclosed a list of individuals allegedly linked to child abuse. the bbc and itv both say they'll accept the investigations and apologize to the relevant parties. but the scandals are fueling criticism of british media and its reporting methods. japanese researchers are helping to build a stronger heart. they used induced stem cells that can develop into any type of body tissue. scientists have considered glucose to be necessary in cultivating heart muscle. a team from ko university challenged that notion. they removed all glucose from their cultures and replaced it with lactic acid and found almost all the cells except those from the heart muscle died of malnutrition. the researchers used the culture to grow heart muscle cells from ips cells and succeeded in improving the purity to 98% within a week. then they transplanted the culture of the cells into a mouse. they didn't find any
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abnormalities. >> translator: we believe we can overcome one of the hurdles to regenerate the heart muscle. this may represent a major step forward in regenerative medicine. >> the new method is expected to help create heart muscle cells more efficiently and at a lower cost. good weather isn't going to continue here in tokyo according to our meteorologist. robert, tell us more. >> well, yes. sunny skies out across much of japan but look at this cloud cover coming in from korea. over toward eastern china. it'll continue to push off toward the east already bringing heavy rain showers in these areas. then in western japan on saturday and eventually working its way over toward the east and sunday the storm system is going to bring us some heavy showers, damaging winds at times, too, and i will not even be surprised if a tornado is confirmed or touched down across much of the country here. then as the storm system starts to move off here toward the
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north into hokkaido take a look at this. snow showers are on the forecast going into sunday as temperatures start to dip down below the freezing mark. it's going to be a chilly one here off toward the north and even around tokyo temperatures still getting down into the low teens, 11 for your low on sunday. sunny skies will start to work their way back into the picture. now the rest of eastern asia though things are also remaining rather chilly. seoul with a high of only 7. beijing at 10. the lows down into the double digits below zero here. down toward the south into the tropics we're actually still seeing heavy rain showers in the philippines. manila with a high of 33. now let's look over toward the americas and look at the clear skies on the satellite picture. this is all due to this dome of high pressure that is just suppressing the cloud cover across much of canada down there throughout the united states. we do have a few storm systems moving onshore across the west coast. those are really the big topic for today going into friday and then eventually saturday as
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these continue to push onshore. they were bringing heavy rainfall, even gusty winds up to 50 kilometers per hour and some of the valleys here right near the coast lines this could be about 80 kilometer per hour winds expected. once you get through the funneling effect here and a little further inland you could be seeing heavy snow accumulating especially into the higher elevations. if you're a skier you're going to like this but driving is going to be dangerous. flights in and out of seattle, vancouver, down through san francisco do check these out ahead of time. this very well could be causing some airport delays and even cancellations possible. temperatures across much of the u.s. here though, chicago 10. up toward canada zero only for your high on your friday. and in the east coast temperatures getting up into the double digits. actually atlanta into the mid teens. 16 for your friday high. over toward europe, a low pressure area and really the whole frontal area bringing gusty winds and wet weather across much of northern europe. on the west coast of the scandinavian peninsula 80
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kilometer per hour winds reported in the northern portions of the british isles. also gusty winds, heavy rainfall. farther south we're talking about portugal and spain, storm systems moving onshore, in portugal heavy rain warnings and high winds warnings in effect currently due to the storm system coming onshore just bringing all the heavy weather with it. on the other side of the mediterranean we'll continue to watch this low pressure area still bringing heavy rain showers out toward italy as it works its way in toward the balkans and eventually turkey still bringing all the rough weather with it. north of that though see all the clear skies? central and eastern europe? it's also accompanied by cool temperatures. warsaw only a high of 16. you are going to be seeing some fog especially through the early morning hours. continue to watch out for that. london a high of 10 here on your friday. here's a look, extended forecast.
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recapping your top story people in japan will vote in a general election next month. prime minister yoshihiko noda dissolved the lower house of the diet. the speaker announced the dissolution of the chamber.
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voting day is december 16th. noda said he is keeping the promise he made to seek a new mandate after reforming the social security and tax systems and said the main focus of the election is whether to move forward or go back to the old political ways of the liberal democratic party, currently the main opposition. noda's democratic party beat the ldp in the 2009 election. we'll be back with more updates in 30 minutes. from all of us here at nhk world, thanks very much for joining us. have a great day wherever you are.
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tavis: good evening. tonight, a conversation with two-time oscar winner sally field. she is once again in the oscar conversation for her role as she is once again in the oscar conversation for her role as mary todd li

WHUT November 16, 2012 7:30am-8:00am EST

News/Business. World events, business news and weather forecasts; broadcast in English. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY China 9, Tokyo 5, U.s. 5, Europe 4, Yoshihiko Noda 4, Us 3, Myanmar 3, Noda 2, Portugal 2, Steven Wong 2, Southeast Asia 2, London 2, Hong Kong 2, Japan U.s. 2, Canada 2, United States 2, Ldp 2, Nhk 2, Eastern Europe 1, Italy 1
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